The entire point of the article is that the Smithfield experience proves Governor Noem was wrong not to order a mass closure of businesses.
But wait! It is obvious even to a casual reader that the Post’s attack makes no sense. The article acknowledges that the Smithfield plant had already “been deemed essential by the federal government,” so no order Noem might have issued would have applied to it in any case. The Smithfield experience had nothing to do with Noem’s policy.
One is tempted to stop there. The Post’s attempted smear obviously missed its mark. But let’s continue.
They’re not even trying anymore, really. Plus:
The point of the Post story is to convey the impression that Governor Noem’s reliance on voluntary measures, education, persuasion, and close cooperation with federal agencies, other governors, and the private sector is a failure. Strikingly absent from the Post’s hit job, however, is the bottom line: how many South Dakotans have actually succumbed to COVID-19? The answer: 6, and none have been reported within the last week. South Dakota has one of the best coronavirus records of any state, but the Post didn’t tell its readers that. It would have ruined the narrative.
Next: the Smithfield story is actually an interesting one, but the Post tells us essentially nothing about it. First of all, the Sioux Falls facility is massive. It has 3,700 employees, of whom fewer than 10% have tested positive for COVID-19. The Sioux Falls facility is one of the main pork producers in the U.S., turning out around 18 million servings of bacon, pork chops, etc., per day. You may wonder, why were so many diagnostic tests performed on employees at that plant? The answer is that Smithfield implemented an aggressive program, in partnership with two major hospital systems, whereby anyone who entered or left the facility was questioned and had his or her temperature taken. Anyone who reported having a cough, etc., or who showed an elevated temperature was tested for COVID-19.
Moreover, the Post article conveyed the impression that the Smithfield plant might become a ghost facility, closed forever due to South Dakota’s failure to elect a Democratic governor. In fact, the plant will reopen in a matter of days. During the brief time it has been closed, Smithfield has been working intensively with the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA, and others, and is implementing measures as described by the company.
The WaPo has become truly pathetic. But that’s not news.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post and it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of IWB.